One might think that PORAC’s summertime agenda is relatively light. School is out, vacations are scheduled, and you’d think that the last thing on anyone’s mind during their time off would be all the stuff that affects our profession. Legislation, initiatives, body-worn cameras … just contemplating those alone could necessitate a trip somewhere sandy and warm, with plenty of adult beverages on hand! However, there are those who do have the previous items on their minds, and who are working year-round to protect your pension and improve your quality of work life. While you may think I am referring to our federal advocates at Steptoe & Johnson or the firm of Aaron Read & Associates in California, I am actually talking about our chapter leaders and PORAC’s Executive Committee, all of whom I have spent a lot of time with this summer.
Last month, our leadership team convened in Sacramento to review the issues at hand and reaffirm our positions on some of the remaining legislation. We reviewed national and state bills, moving to support those that we believe are in your best interest. We were briefed on the Reed/DeMaio anti-pension initiative, the status of body-worn camera bills, and continued the internal committee work of budget, bylaws and compensation, all of which are vital to PORAC continuing to thrive. Sadly, we also remembered the sacrifice of Bakersfield Police Officer David Nelson, who died in the line of duty on June 26. His loss, as well as those peace officers before him and those who serve in the military, we honored with our silence and respect in the hope that they would be the last.
I also had the opportunity to visit many of your chapters’ meetings, as well as welcome and update everyone at our Association Leadership course during July, which are still the two most fun responsibilities I have as our organization’s vice president. I met over a dozen new local association leaders, all of whom were very interested in how they could get more involved in PORAC. While most were longstanding PORAC members, a few had never been to their chapter meeting before. And not only were they eager to help, they also looked forward to passing along important information to their respective memberships. While many of these conversations become one big discussion in my memory, the fraternal spirit and camaraderie (and a couple of fantastic barbecues!) among cops is unique to that chapter meeting. Each one follows its own path, exclusive to the personalities of those in attendance and each region’s local flavor.
One of the common themes I noticed in last month’s travel was an overwhelming desire to see more involvement in the chapter meetings by the local member associations. Meeting locations, times, and scheduling around a 40-plus-hours-per-week job rate highly as factors for low attendance, but in light of the issues ahead of us, most chapter attendees are undeterred — with their leaders and representatives taking the time to discuss the importance of digging in, even if it’s just one association president or treasurer at a time.
PORAC’s updated website, www.porac.org, can assist you in this, as it is a great resource for association leaders and their members, too! See when and where your next chapter meeting will be held, who your chapter’s leaders are and how to reach them, accurately track state and federal legislation, or enjoy PORAC Law Enforcement News on the go. These are just a few of the ways you can guarantee that your association is on top of what is going on and what PORAC is doing for you.
Another way to get informed is to attend PORAC’s 63rd Annual Conference of Members, which will be held November 19 through 22 at the Portola and Marriott Hotels in Monterey. Registration is now open for both members and vendors at www.porac.org/events/conference. As accommodations for both hotels in the PORAC-rate room block will go quickly, it will be necessary to first register as an attendee to access them — so don’t delay in getting your plans made to join us in Monterey this year!
Finally, as we begin preparing for our annual Conference, it means that region nomination meetings are upon us. Candidate nominations are required for elections to positions on the Executive Committee, Legal Defense Fund (LDF), Insurance and Benefit Trust (IBT) and Retiree Medical Trust (RMT) and are held at these meetings, so don’t miss your chance to participate. Elections in our organization are vital to the long-term health and direction of PORAC. If you have an interest in getting more involved, please contact your chapter president or director to see which representatives (both regionally and in the chapter) are up for election, and then take note of when your respective regional meeting will take place. I anticipate attending all of the region meetings, so if you are in search of an update, have a question or just want to catch up on business in your area, mark your calendar and make sure that your chapter and association are adequately represented with your attendance.
Enjoy the rest of your summer, have fun and stay safe!